UT softball ranked No. 1 in 2014 preseason top 25 poll


(UNDATED) The National Fastpitch Coaches Association released the 2014 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll on Tuesday with Tennessee ranked at No. 1.

For the first time in program history, Tennessee will start the season at No. 1. It is UT's first time at No. 1 in the poll since it was at the top on May 9, 2007.

Tennessee totaled seven first-place votes. Defending national champion Oklahoma claimed the second spot and had 17 first-place votes. Washington (one vote), Florida (six) and Michigan (one) rounded out the third through fifth spots, respectively.

The SEC boasts three teams in the top 10 in No. 1 Tennessee, No. Florida and No. 6 Alabama. The SEC and Pac-12 each had three teams in the top 10 to tie for the lead among all conferences. The SEC has eight teams in the top 25 with Texas A&M ranking 11th, Kentucky at 12th, Missouri at 14th, LSU at 17th, and Georgia at 23rd.The SEC had eight teams ranked in the top 25, more than any other conference.

The Lady Vols have been ranked in the preseason top 16 each year dating back to 2005. UT's previous highest preseason ranking was No. 2 in 2007. This year's preseason ranking marks the sixth time UT has started the year ranked in the top 10, the fourth time it has been ranked in the top five and the third time it has started in the top three of the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll.

The Lady Vols enjoyed one of their finest seasons in program history in 2013, finishing as the national runner-up, making their sixth Women's College World Series appearance in nine years and posting their eighth 50-win season with a final record of 52-12. UT returns several key players from its 2013 WCWS Championship Series run, including All-American seniors Ellen Renfroe (2011, 2012) and Madison Shipman (2012, 2013). With 11 returning veterans and seven exciting newcomers, Tennessee is primed for another big season and has goals that culminate in Oklahoma City.

Tennessee opens the 2014 season on Feb. 7 against Northern Colorado in the Georgia Southern Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. The Lady Vols open their home slate with a doubleheader against Wright State on March 5. UT's first SEC home series is March 21-23 against South Carolina.

USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Poll – Preseason -- Jan. 21, 2014

Rank Team 2013 Record Totals Final2013 Rank
1 Tennessee (7) 52-12 729 2
2 Oklahoma (17) 57-4 720 1
3 Washington (1) 45-17 702 4
4 Florida (6) 58-9 684 5
5 Michigan (1) 51-13 652 6
6 Alabama 45-15 604 10
7 Arizona State 50-12 593 7
8 Oregon 50-11 576 9
9 Nebraska 45-16 572 8
10 Texas 51-10 532 3
11 Texas A&M 42-18 383 13
12 Kentucky 41-21 374 14
13 Louisiana Lafayette 47-15 367 12
14 Missouri 38-14 357 11
15 Florida State 44-19 317 15
16 UCLA 40-20 282 21
17 LSU 42-16 269 18
18 Baylor 42-17 244 20
19 Louisville 48-13 235 19
20 South Alabama 48-9 194 17
21 UAB 40-19 181 16
22 Stanford 39-21 164 22
23 Georgia 40-21 149 RV
24 California 38-19 125 23
25 USF 45-16 98 RV

Others Receiving Votes: Hawai’i (86), Arizona (45), Arkansas (28), Hofstra (27), Tulsa (23), Wisconsin (21), N.C. State (16), Auburn (10), Long Beach State (8), Notre Dame (8), Virginia Tech (8), Houston (6), BYU (5), Oregon State (3), North Carolina (2), Western Kentucky (1)

Tennessee in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll

1996: NR
1997: RV (11 votes)
1998: NR
1999: NR
2000: NR
2001: NR
2002: NR
2003: NR
2004: RV (39 votes)
2005: 14
2006: 3
2007: 2
2008: 6
2009: 12
2010: 16
2011: 4
2012: 14
2013: 6
2014: 1


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